April 7 in Montreal - Our Voices will not be Silenced, forum on human rights in the Philippines

Torture and Abuse Survivors Urge Canada to Help Stop Human Rights Violations in the Philippines

Human rights defenders from the Philippines working in alliance with a cross-Canada network of churches, community groups and human rights and development organizations, including KAIROS:  Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives and the United Church of Canada Asia Pacific Partnerships

Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, Coordinator of Council on Health and Development, former political prisoner (2010)

Angelina Bisuña Ipong, Coordinator of the Association of Ex-Detainees Against Detention and Arrest and former political prisoner (2005-2011)

Bishop Reul Marigza, General Secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and initiator of an ongoing legal suit to hold the former President of the Philippines and other top military officials legally accountable for extra-judicial killings, abduction, torture, arrest, enforced disappearances and attempted killings.    

Public events and consultations with civil society and government representatives.
• Public forums in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria to raise awareness of cases of torture, imprisonment and extrajudicial killings committed with impunity in the Philippines
• Meetings with government officials to urge Canada to condemn these systemic  human rights violations

Locations, dates and times of the public events are as follows
• Toronto:  Saturday, March 31, 3:00-5:00PM, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, Rm. 5-250, 252 Bloor St. W.
• Ottawa:  Sunday, April 1, 2:00-4:00PM, Assumption Church, 320 Olmstead St.
• Montreal:  Saturday, April 7, 2:00-4:00PM, Mont Royal United Church, 1800 Graham Blvd., Town of Mont Royal
• Winnipeg:  Wednesday April 11, 7:00–9:00 PM, Sam’s Place, 159 Henderson Hwy
• Victoria:   Friday, April 13, 5:00—7:00 PM, Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre, 1709 Blanshard St.
• Vancouver:  Saturday, April 14, 2:00–5:00 PM, Simon Fraser University – Harbour Centre, Rm. 2270, Sauder Industries Policy Room

WHEN:  March 27-April 16, 2012.  Delegates are available for interviews for the duration of the tour.

WHY:   Human rights defenders are coming to Canada to raise awareness about the grave realities of human rights violations occurring within a climate of impunity in the Philippines. Two former political detainees, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor and Ms. Angelina Bisuña Ipong, who were subjected to torture, sexual harassment and physical abuse while in jail, will tell their first-hand stories. The tour will also feature the perspectives of ecumenical community activist Bishop Reul Marigza, who is seeking to hold the perpetrators of these crimes legally accountable.

The delegation will be urging the government of Canada to bring forward recommendations on ending human rights violations in the Philippines to the upcoming UN Universal Periodic Review sessions in May 2012. The delegates will emphasize that Canada has a responsibility to ensure that trade, investment, development aid and other bilateral programmes do not contribute to perpetuating these violations.

Across Canada, the delegation will be hosted by churches, human rights and development organizations, local KAIROS chapters and Filipino community groups.

Bios of delegates are available at www.kairoscanada.org

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Media contacts:
Malcolm Guy
Centre d’Appuix aux Philippines-Centre for Philippine Concerns
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 574-9906

Adiat Junaid
Communications Program Coordinator
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
(416) 463 5312, ext. 223

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